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Interview: The Scarred

words by Chris Aitkens | photos courtesy of Basement Records
08.13.2009

scarredAfter a couple split EPs, three full-length albums, and a tour with Cheap Sex, it’s safe to say that The Scarred have become established as a veteran presence within the punk scene. But it’s impossible to say that they aren’t a band continually on the rise.

With the backing of an enthusiastic new label, Basement Records, and a brand new album, At Half Mast, The Scarred prove that a band can make leaps and bounds at any point in their existence. Not only did I have the honor of listening to and reviewing their newest record, I was able to sit down and have a nice phone conversation with Justin Willits, the lead singer and guitarist of the band.

Justin and his wife, Isha Rose, started the band in 2003 and have been going nonstop ever since. Justin is currently the only original member in the Scarred, but he feels that their style hasn’t changed.

“If anything, I think our sound has improved,” says Willits. “Isha is still helping and trying to keep things organized. She’s behind-the-scenes with me, and it’s going strong.”

Although the original members were able to be there for the recording of At Half Mast, they were unable to fit a tour into their busy lives. Justin found support from his friends in allied bands and was able to form a new line-up.

“We have Byron Sinn from Destruct on bass, who’s an awesome guy, and we have Ben 9000 from Rezurex on the drums, who’s a master percussionist. So we’re pretty excited to let it rip!” And why shouldn’t they be? The Scarred have just come back from a successful two-night performance in Las Vegas and are currently saving up for a tour of China in October 2010.

The Scarred are known for being quite friendly with fellow punk rockers and fans: “We always try to never use the ‘f-word’ – fans,” explains Willits. “We always felt uncomfortable with that [word]. We try to say ‘the kids,’ or ‘the people,’ because that’s the most important thing to us. These people are here to watch us play — let’s talk to ‘em!”

At Half Mast is the newest triumph for Justin. He explained that the majority of the vocals were recorded in his kitchen, where he would try his best to annoy his neighbors, who kept him up all night with parties and orgies. Their new label, Basement Records, seems to be thrilled have The Scarred on their label, and the future for the band appears to be getting brighter and brighter.

“We’re not the most exceptional band in the world,” Willits concludes. “The motto we imply is just to stick to your guns. I try to stay true to myself and who I am and never compromise. The other thing in the long run that I’m proud of is that we never licked anybody’s asshole. We’ve always tried to be honest and be who we are, and if that means we don’t get on the big shows, then fuck it!”

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